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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Changing Jobs

8 To-Dos After You Accept a New Job

person sitting in an office cubicle, leaning back in their chair and smiling as they throw a stack of yellow, purple, red, and white paper in the air above them
Bailey Zelena; John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

So you’ve just accepted a new job offer. Congrats! The first thing you should do is call up your best friends and make plans to celebrate (obviously).

But after you’ve arranged to toast to your latest success, you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory. What exactly is the proper protocol for leaving your job? And is there anything you should be doing to prepare for your new one?

As someone who just made job change No. 4, I can tell you that although circumstances are always different, there are certain things that can help make any transition go more smoothly. Here are eight things you’ll need to do.

1. Make your offer acceptance official.

Before you start spending your new, higher salary, you should make sure that both the offer and your acceptance of it are official. While you may have received a verbal offer over the phone, you should still get a formal written offer—if you haven’t, check in with the company to see if one is coming. Similarly, you might have accepted the offer during a call or sent the hiring manager an email, but you’ll still need to sign a contract and/or other paperwork to make it official. Even though it’s rare, things can still go wrong at this stage, and the formal job offer might not come through.

2. Take a deep breath, then tell your boss.

You may be feeling a little nervous about telling your boss you’re quitting—and that’s understandable. But chances are, this is not the first resignation they’ve received. If your supervisor is supportive, they’ll want the best for your professional growth and will be happy for your new opportunity—even if that means you’re changing companies. (And if they’re on the frosty side, then that only confirms you made the right decision!)

Whatever the case, though, you’ll still want to give your manager the professional courtesy of telling them first. As much as you want to tell your best office buddies the news, save your excitement until your boss hears it directly from you and you find out how they want to handle the announcement.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Putting in Two Weeks’ Notice

3. Formally resign—and take care of any necessary paperwork.

Get ready—once you give your notice, there may be a lot of paperwork coming your way. If your current company needs an official letter of resignation, be sure to send that off promptly. If you’re going to be staying on your employer’s health insurance plan through COBRA, make sure you understand the laws surrounding your policy, and read over those notices you’ll get in the mail. Lastly, you may want to check out the transition steps needed to roll over your 401(k) or other retirement fund to your new employer.

4. Create a transition plan.

Your boss has enough on their plate without having to worry about how your duties will be taken care of once you’re gone. So the best thing you can do to leave on great terms is to be proactive and give them more specifics on how exactly you’ll transition your day-to-day responsibilities. Set up a meeting and discuss your ideas on who would best be suited to take over in the interim, and then give a specific schedule for bringing these people up to speed. You also might want to create a transition document that outlines what your job duties are and how to do them, and make sure that any needed logins, documents (with permissions), or contact info gets to the right people.

5. Make sure you have everything you need from your old job.

Not only do you need to gather any physical items you may have left at the office—like that sweater you thought you lost—you need to make sure you have anything that only exists in your digital workspace as well. This means contact information for people you want to keep in touch with, personal files that ended up on your work computer or email, copies of any benefits documents that went to your work email, and praise for successes in this job that you want to be able to refer to in the future. 

Pro tip: You might want to gather all the info you need from your computer and inbox before you tell anyone you’re quitting, especially if you know your organization has a history of shutting down people’s accounts as soon as they give notice or asking them to pack up and leave without working through their notice period (yes, it happens!). 

6. Check in with your new employer.

Even after you’ve signed the job offer and decided on a start date, you should still expect to stay in contact with your new employer during the transition time. There may be things that require your immediate attention—for example, my latest employer required a drug screening and background check. I also received lots of paperwork from HR. No matter what your new employer needs, get it handled as soon as possible—going incommunicado for long periods of time doesn’t exactly send a great message.

On a more fun note, I got a few congratulatory emails from people I had interviewed with. If your new coworkers reach out to you, be sure to email them back, thank them, and tell them how excited you are to be part of the team. All of this extra contact will help relieve some new-kid awkwardness on the first day.

7. Reach out to your new boss.

HR or the talent acquisition team at your new company will likely be the ones sending you the logistical details for your new role, but if you really want to impress, you can also email your new manager and ask if there’s anything you can do before you start to help get yourself up to speed.

8. Enjoy any time off between jobs!

If you’re taking a break before starting your new job—even if it’s just a day or two—use that time to your advantage.

Most importantly, try to organize your life a bit. You’re going to be busy learning a lot of new things, so the last thing you’ll want to worry about is a dirty apartment or empty refrigerator waiting for you at home. If you managed to negotiate a longer break time between jobs (which I recently did), I would also suggest doing things you can’t normally do during the workday. In my case, I relished golfing in the middle of the day and working out at 9 a.m.—instead of 5:15 a.m.!

And finally, relax and pamper yourself a bit. You may be in for some information overload as you onboard, so treat yourself to that massage or beach day while you can. You’ll be relaxed, rejuvenated, organized, and ready to start that new adventure.

Read More: 6 Ways to Enjoy Your Time Off Between Jobs

Regina Borsellino contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.